Andrew J. Strempler, a Canadian citizen, was arrested by United States officials in Florida and faces charges relating to his operation of a Web site selling drug products to US residents including distribution of counterfeit and non-Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved drugs. “According to the indictment, from around January 2005 through June 9, 2006, Strempler and his co-conspirators unlawfully enriched themselves by selling prescription drugs to individuals in the United States, falsely representing that RxNorth was selling safe prescription drugs in compliance with regulations in Canada, the United Kingdom and/or the United States. The indictment further alleges that Strempler obtained the prescription drugs from various other source countries without properly ensuring the safety or authenticity of the drugs. In fact, the indictment alleges that some of the drugs sold by Strempler included counterfeit drugs,” indicates a press release from the US Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Florida. Strempler faces one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, US Code, Section 1349, and two counts of mail fraud, in violation of Title 18, US Code, Section 1341. The government is also seeking forfeiture of $95 million.
Wifredo A. Ferrer, US attorney for the Southern District of Florida stated, “FDA regulations are designed to promote and ensure the safety and integrity of prescription drugs sold and used in the United States. The US Attorney’s Office is committed to assisting the FDA enforce these regulations to protect American consumers from unsafe, adulterated and counterfeit drugs.” David W. Bourne, special agent in charge, FDA, Office of Criminal Investigation (OCI), Miami Field Office, stressed that the FDA OCI is committed to “aggressively pursuing individuals” who seek to sell counterfeit, adulterated, and misbranded drug products to US consumers via the Internet. Strempler appeared in federal court on June 14, 2012, before US Magistrate Judge John O’Sullivan. If convicted, Strempler faces a possible maximum statutory sentence of up to 20 years in prison on each count.
Additional details about the charges against Strempler are available in the US Attorney’s Office press release. The press release notes that an indictment is only an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.